The Ukrainian track will remain a priority for the Russian Federation as Moscow perceives the war against Ukraine as an opportunity to wedge into the confrontation between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.

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The Ukrainian track will remain a priority for the Russian Federation as Moscow perceives the war against Ukraine as an opportunity to wedge into the confrontation between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Consequently, the Russian-Ukrainian war is likely to be one of the centres of gravity for further developments related to the transformation of the existing world order and Russia’s place in it.







Meanwhile, the development of global trends and positions of the main global actors could directly or indirectly influence Moscow’s ability to reach its geopolitical objectives or undermine its efforts to find a new place in times of transformation.

Proceeding from the stated above, the following key factors can be highlighted:

  • China’s stance towards Taiwan and willingness/unwillingness to escalate relations with the US can potentially accelerate the restructuring of the existing world order and trigger the emergence of new hot spots or become a stabilising factor for the future.
  • Beijing’s relations with the Russian Federation may not only bring China and Russia closer (including military and information realms) but also deepen global fracture lines.
  • The 2024 elections in the US and the effectiveness of Washington in the international arena, including military and financial support of Ukraine, as well as the ability to fulfil its and preserve the existing share of responsibility.
  • The European Parliament elections and the EU’s ability to maintain transatlantic unity with the United States are two important factors that could prove crucial for deterring Russia’s and China’s attempts to disrupt the international world order.





China will avoid confrontation with the United States and look for a coexistence framework with Washington. Both states will recognise the importance of crisis mitigation. By regularly discussing issues and maintaining clear communication in bilateral relations, China and the US can effectively contribute to the stabilisation of the global order and avoid unexpected escalations.

At the same time, election competition in the United States will not have a negative impact on Washington’s ability to preserve the current share of responsibility and provide assistance to Ukraine, even if on a smaller scale. Donald Trump will be either banned from participation in the elections or receive a technical defeat. Such developments may open a window of opportunity for Russian information influence, but in general, Moscow’s attempts to destabilise American society will not be successful, and internal stability will be preserved.

The situation in the EU will not deteriorate as well. The European elections will result in the creation of a pro-European coalition in the European Parliament and the re-election of Ursula von der Leyen as the President of the European Commission. If Hungary remains a main European troublemaker, a way of circumventing Budapest’s veto power will be found.

Under conditions where the stability of the global order is preserved, there is much less possibility that the Kremlin’s attempts to intimidate Western decision-makers with a narrative of a protracted war will lead to serious consideration of this issue. As a result, Moscow’s ambitions to return to the league of the global powers will not be satisfied. It would also be worth paying tribute to Beijing, whose constructive role in maintaining global stability is likely to be driven by the unwillingness to let Russia transform into a more powerful state that could threaten China’s position on the geopolitical map.

It does not mean that Moscow’s destructive influences in Ukraine, Africa, or elsewhere will be prevented. However, the Kremlin will lack resources, and Russia will not have much room for manoeuvre.


China will avoid a direct escalation with the United States, considering all the potential risks that come along with it. Beijing will also restrain from any aggression against Taiwan, no matter what the election results are. This will not only minimise the possibility of a conflict outbreak in the South China Sea but also contribute to the relative stability of the current world order. The absence of a conflict between two global powers is a major factor in preserving the status quo.

In conditions when there is no need to wage war on Taiwan, Ukraine will remain on Washington’s foreign policy agenda. However, there is a risk that due to the upcoming presidential elections, American political elites will be preoccupied with internal disputes and competition, making the Ukrainian issue a subject of political speculation. Moscow will likely attempt to gain leverage on this ground, using traditional tools to influence US public opinion and utilise the existing strain in US society. Another risk is related to the possible victory of Donald Trump, whose presidency could amplify the voices of isolationists. Washington’s unwillingness to preserve the current share of responsibility will likely open a window of opportunities for authoritarian regimes, including the one in the Russian Federation. Moscow could cherish the hope that due to changes in the White House, US support of Ukraine will further decrease, making Kyiv’s position more vulnerable.

In this regard, developments in the EU are of significant importance. A rise in support for populist forces in the EU member states is spotted, which means such politicians could gain more seats in the European Parliament. This will likely affect the decision-making process and lead to complications in assisting Ukraine. Hungary will remain the main European troublemaker, regularly blocking initiatives aimed at providing support to Ukraine. Such a stance towards the Russia-Ukraine War will serve Moscow’s interests and undermine Kyiv’s defence capabilities. There is also a risk that after the presidential elections in Slovakia, Fico’s “Direction – Social Democracy” party will strengthen its positions, converting the state into another European troublemaker.

All of these developments mean that Russia will not be expelled from global processes or seriously isolated. On the contrary, the Kremlin will be rather active in its contacts with both the so-called Global South countries and the Western states. Concerning the relations with the latest, all the information campaigns and messages transferred to European and American politicians potentially should incline Western decision-makers to some sort of negotiations with the Kremlin concerning a peaceful settlement of the war. To be more convincing, Russians will use two main narratives: a protracted military conflict narrative and a narrative of possible dangers related to a growing dependence on China.

Moscow has been demonstrating its readiness to wage a prolonged war, increasing military production, allocating more funds for military needs, and maintaining a high level of payments for personnel. It does not mean that Russia is incapable of waging war for three or four more years. However, by playing on one of the biggest fears of the Western political establishment, the Kremlin may try to reach the redistribution of zones of geopolitical influence. This would create the prerequisites for getting closer to the status of the third global power, even being technologically and economically weaker.

At the same time, Moscow could impose the narrative about the dangers that come along with China’s growing influence. The goal will be to persuade US decision-makers that a scenario when Beijing fills the geopolitical vacuum that may emerge after the weakening of Russia is against Washington’s interests.

Yet, there is a low probability that in 2024, Russia’s attempts to reach an agreement over the head of the official Kyiv will turn out to be a success. It is more likely that the military confrontation will maintain its current intensity throughout the year. Although Beijing will remain Russia’s most important partner, in the conditions of the relative stability of the global order, Moscow’s strengthening does not fit into China’s vision of the status quo preservation.

As a result, the overall situation may slightly worsen for Ukraine, but these changes would not be critical, at least in the short term. Even if there is a probability that Russia may improve its position, it would not help Moscow become the third global centre of gravity.


China considers election results in Taiwan to be a challenge to its territorial integrity and policy. This leads to increased instability accompanied by military manoeuvres and trade wars. Relations with regional powers like Japan also exacerbate, converting the region into a source of global turbulence.

In such conditions, Washington’s attention shifts to the Chinese issue even more, leaving Ukraine on the periphery of the US geopolitical priorities. Destructive developments in the international arena may potentially lead to an isolationist policy after the 2024 elections.

Tensions in Southeast Asia spark new economic challenges for the EU countries, leading to the rise of populist forces. This will likely significantly influence the European Parliament elections, reducing the chances to form a pro-European coalition.

This creates additional opportunities for Russia and China. Using sophisticated information attacks and disinformation campaigns, both states can influence discourse in the West and worldwide to their advantage. In the case of Moscow, it means a good moment for the escalation on the Ukrainian front to gain further ground and weaken the Ukrainian state even more before starting negotiations on the settlement of the military conflict and shaping a framework for future redistribution of geopolitical zones of influence.

Tensions in relations between China and the US will pave the way for the outbreak of several regional conflicts, shacking an unstable global order even further. Although most of Moscow’s resources are concentrated in Ukraine, the Kremlin will manage to fuel the flames of war directly or indirectly in newly emerged hot spots, using them to strengthen its geopolitical influence. This does not mean that Russia will immediately become one of the global powers, but it may indicate a change in Moscow’s stance globally.


The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung or of the organization for which the author works.